New Delhi : “Women have played a crucial role from time immemorial, be it freedom struggle to present times in wide variety of fields. Seeds of gender equality have been sown in our country through various steps; it will reap benefit for our society on the whole. As a consequence, women empowerment will lead to an equitable, inclusive and diverse growth story of India.”, this was stated by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar as she chaired the “Women leading Change in Health and Science in India” Conference along with Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (IC) Science and Technology, here today. Ms. Melinda French Gates was the Guest of Honour at the event.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Pawar said that “we must take inspiration from the Indian women personalities like Anandibai Joshi, Kadambini Ganguly, Kalpana Chawla etc., who despite against all odds achieved stupendous feats in their fields. We must celebrate their impact and strive to do more in several ways.” She said that significance of the women’s crucial role in our progress especially in health sector can be adjudged from the fact that one million ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers, who remained at the forefront of healthcare service delivery in India especially as first line of defence in the crucial period of COVID-19, received the Global Health Leaders Award-2022 in the backdrop of 75th World Health Assembly.
Highlighting various steps taken by Government of India, Dr. Pawar emphasized that “Government is dedicated towards making our women capable in every field. Taking consistent efforts, Government has initiated new programs and continuing previous interventions through its institutions, scholarships, financial support etc leading to a vibrant ecosystem where women can flourish and harness their full potential.” “We observed that post-independence, attention was not given on this aspect of India’s growth story, but under the visionary leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister several steps have been taken. Flagship schemes like “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”, Ujjwala Yojana for free cooking fuel, initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan, financial inclusion through PM Jan Dhan Yojana, MUDRA scheme for entrepreneurial ambitions, Permanent Commission in our defence services are some of the notable interventions for not just the welfare for women but also empowering them”.
Dr. Pawar emphasized on bringing women workforce at par with men workforce, more women centric initiatives being the need of the hour for holistic development. This would be an apt celebration to our golden period of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM).
Union Minister of State (IC) Science and Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that “women are taking their well-deserved place in the society and we must do away with the past hangover of gender specified roles. In the spirit of AKAM, government schemes must not be seen from a welfare perspective but also as a platform that can strengthen their resolve. Women remain crucial part of our human resources of the country and if efficiently harnessed they can contribute immensely towards the development of our country”.
Ms. Melinda French Gates said that the “government has taken crucial steps like emergency cash transfer through Direct Benefit Transfer which is a great example of gender intentional policy. The Indian Government has been pushing forward from bottom up to build a gender equal country”. She was hopeful that Gates Foundation and Government of India would work in coordination to achieve shared goals and improve the aspect of gender equality in the country even further.
Dr. Rajesh S. Gokhale, Secretary Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Dr. Renu Swarup, Former Secretary, DBT, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO, Dr. Alka Sharma, Senior Advisor, DBT & MD, BIRAC, Ms Amie Batson, Executive Director, Women Lift Health, Dr. Shirshendu Mukherjee, Mission Director, Grand Challenges India along with other dignitaries were also present.